Arsenal are best positioned to sign Ajax left-back Nico Tagliafico this summer, according to widespread reports that appear to originate from Spanish source MARCA.
You may ask, why would MARCA know about a transfer between an English and Dutch club, but when you learn of Atletico Madrid’s reported interest, it starts to make a bit more sense.
Tagliafico is not young, but he is relatively new to European football, having joined Ajax from Argentine club Independiente in the summer of 2018.
The 26-year-old has been brilliant this season, both domestically and in the Champions League, seamlessly adapting to his new environment. This makes potential suitors more confident that he would have no trouble in adapting to a new league again this summer if he were to move.
Arsenal already have Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac at the club, but Monreal is now 33 and whilst Kolasinac has displayed good attacking qualities as a wing back, his defensive discipline seems to worry Unai Emery, who appears hesitant to utilise the Bosnian in a back four.
Tagliafico offers a great blend of offensive and defensive talent and could prove to be a real bargain for the Gunners. Having signed for just £4million in the summer, reports suggest he could be available for as little as £8million. That seems unrealistic though, and his market value is £22.5m according to TransferMarkt.
Considering there are numerous clubs interested, Ajax will probably be able to demand in at least £10million for the Argentinean’s services.
Such a price-tag is unlikely to deter Arsenal though, as despite having relatively little to spend this summer, £10million is a small price to pay for a defender that could provide the team with a first-team improvement.
Tagliafico is great in possession of the ball, heavily involved in the buildup player, averaging 54 passes per game in the league this season with an 85.5% success rate. Emery is keen for his Arsenal team to dominate games moving forward, and these stats, in contrast to Sead Kolasinac’s, highlight how the signing of Tagliafico would help the team do this.
Kolasinac averages just 42.9 passes per game with a 77.9% success rate. Monreal is better in this respect with 48.6 average and a 86.5% success rate.